Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Bethlehem Star

The Bethlehem star; just to say this phrase may bring to mind a localized news paper. In fact, you have heard of this local herald of the Middle East. At least once a year, the words bring mention of an event that occurred just over 2,000 years ago. Of course, I’m referencing The Star of Bethlehem. The images we conjure are often of angelic beings among the radiance of this star, trumpeting the arrival of ‘Emmanuel’, the long awaited Messiah.

In what I am about to describe to you, I first heard of a few years ago in watching a program on The Discovery Channel. I then did further research to find more information on this theory. From what I read, I am of the opinion the event was not filled with as much pomp as our traditional nativity plays have illustrated for us. This makes sense to me, as I consider a question I have had as to why people did not follow Jesus from The Manger to The Cross. And, further Jesus often asked that His disciples remain quiet about who He is.


Dr. Michael Molnar, Ph.D. in Astronomy has written a book entitled, The Star of Bethlehem: The Legacy of the Magi. In Molnar’s work, he discusses having purchased an ancient coin from Antioch Syria. The coin commemorates the superstitious belief that a king would be born when the planet Jupiter passed through the constellation Aries.

Recently, as I sat watching a fantastic Christmas musical with aerial acrobatics, choreography, scenery changes and two children of about the ages of 12 and 10 pulling off a wonder of English Cockney accent, I watched this scene unfold. It was of the Three Wise Men (Magi) visiting Herod to inquire of the birth of a king. Then, Herod called for a scribe to step forward and give him an account of what Judaism had recorded for the birth of the Jew’s Messiah. The scribe recited:

2 "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times." – Micah 5:2

Knowing what I have known for the last couple of years, my thoughts went to what the meaning of the star was to the Magi. And, I have to tell you, I leaned over to my wife and said, “I have an idea for my next blog entry”. Here is why I was so excited.

In watching this scene, I realized God had used the superstitions of men to announce the arival of the Messiah. The Magi saw 'His star' from the direction they had come from (East). From Wikipedia I found this description of why our “Magi” are also recorded as “Wise Men”.

"Greek word magos (μαγος pl. μαγοι). The term is a specific occupational title referring to the priestly caste of Zoroastrianism. As part of their religion, these priests paid particular attention to the stars, and gained an international reputation for astrology, which was at that time a highly regarded science. Their religious practices and use of astrological sciences caused derivatives of the term Magi to be applied to the occult in general and led to the English term magic. Translated in the King James Version as wise men, the same word is given as sorcerer and sorcery when describing "Elymas the sorcerer" in Acts 13:6-11, and Simon Magus, considered a heretic by the early Church, in Acts 8:9-13."

What the Magi were referencing to Herod was the belief of Jupiter appearing in Aries indicating the birth of a King. So, God had used the superstitions of men to guide and point Magi to the Messiah. God used Herod’s scribe to draw attention to what Herod would perceive to be a threat to his reign. But what God was pointing to is an eternal, Heavenly King.

Links for referencing the Star of Bethlehem; The Star of Bethlehem - the astronomical explanation
http://www.twoorthree.net/2007/12/the-star-of-bet.html

http://www.eclipse.net/~molnar/#intro <---Go to this link to view an image of the coin Molnar gleaned this insight from.

http://www.novareinna.com/constellation/index.html <--- Go to this address for a study on the Biblical Zodiac. Thanks to Sean Osborn of the NEIN Blog for this link.

35 comments:

Jody said...

Thanking God He uses even "magi" for His glory.

Vicki said...

Hi Jim,
Yes, God is interested in answering people who honestly seek Him, even through the stars, which we know, even in OT times was not accepted practice for the chosen people of the house of Israel.
He shines His light over Bethlehem and the gentiles come from afar to worship, but not the scholars who are trained in prophecy. He shines His blessed light today that leads from the manger to the cross. But men prefer darkness to light.
It doesn't make sense to choose blindness over sight, but many still do it today. I pray for myself and for those around me that we truly seek truth and the heavenly light.
Blessings to you, Beloved. You are precious beyond words to me.
Vicki

the_thinking_frog said...

Greetings Jim,

Thanks for this post as I have raised several questions about our current fascination with the star. One of the items that stands out from my perspective is why did not many people see this star? If it was as obvious to the people at the time of Jesus' birth as we make it to be, why did not others notice this object?

An ironic truth remains from this perspective--just as the masses at the time of Jesus birth did not observe anything unusual in the sky (which was one of the things that shepherds did to pass their time) so many of the masses do not see the light of the world to this day.

Thanks for the additional information!!!

Joyfully Serving,
Kermit

thekingpin68 said...

'What the Magi were referencing to Herod was the belief of Jupiter appearing in Aries pointing to the birth of a King. So, God had used the superstitions of men to guide and point men to the Messiah. God used Herod’s scribe to draw attention to what Herod would perceive to be a threat to his reign. But what God was pointing to is an eternal, Heavenly King.'

Good historical information, Jim.

jeleasure said...

Thanks Jody. That is why I found it so amazing. Star gazers!

jeleasure said...

Thanks Hun,
I see your point and didn't notice it myself when I was doing the research.
The Jewish scribes and scholars who were trained in prophecy did not come to worship the king. However, the Magi; supersticious gentiles traveled a great distance.

jeleasure said...

Kermit,
You know, I think we should never be satisfied with what the popular teachings are concerning the Bible.

I don't see anything wrong with believing the manger scene was a hive of activity the night Christ was born. But, it just was not. In fact, one theory I had hear, is the Magi did not arrive on the night Christ was born. He may have, but what the Magi asked of Herod, was for Herod to tell them where the King "Was" born. This indicates that the Magi did not feel they would arrive when the Messiah was born.
My effort for my own studying is to always attempt to bring closure to ambiguity in scripture. I will never be certain I have answered some difficult question I have had. But, I do know that I try and I am very often satisfied with my results.

Thanks Kermit.
Jim

jeleasure said...

Thanks Russ,
I was fascinated by it.

Nitewrit said...

Jim,

I'll come back and read this post in a day or two. I started reading it tonight, but since I am in the middle of writing my own post about the Magi visit, I didn't want to imfluence my thoughts yet.

So I don't know if what I am writing with conincide with what you have writen or not. I'll be very interested in what you are saying, but I just want to keep on track first, then I'll compare notes.

Larry E.

jeleasure said...

Larry,
Good idea. I'll also be interested.
Vicki and me are watching its a wonderful life this evening. She has to see it at least once a year.
Jim

nutuba said...

Jim,

Fascinating information! You're right -- God calls people from wherever they are. How many atheists have come to Christ because they've set out on a quest to prove God doesn't exist? I know several ...

Regarding Bethlehem ... we heard a talk tonight at church given by a Palestinian Christian who's actually from Bethlehem. They're under serious persecution and need our prayers and financial support. I'll post more info on my site.

Joel

Tamela's Place said...

Hey Jim,

I like what your wife has said, it is similar to what I was thinking but she has said it so well.. Diddo vicki.. Great post Jim


T :)

jeleasure said...

Thanks Joel.
I'll look for the info on the Palestinian Christians. Man, I can't imagine how much of a hot bed that would be.

jeleasure said...

Thanks, T.
Interesting, I did not pick up on the Gentile v. Judean scholar the way Vicki and yourself did.
Jim

Gigi said...

Jim, you and Vicki should make the one hour drive to Newport News one day and visit the planetarium at the Virginia Living Museum. Every Christmas season they have a special presentation regarding this very topic. It was one our favorite things do do this time of year...

http://www.thevlm.org/programsevents/calendar/planetariumshows.php

jeleasure said...

That sounds good. Vicki said this weekend would be best for us to do that. I'm not on call.
I do, however have to ask, Would you join us? We want to go, but Vicki and I would like to take you there too.
Jim and Vicki

jeleasure said...

Gigi,
I forgot to address you in my last comment. That invitation is for you.
Jim

SeanOsborne said...

Jim,

Being a Biblical literalist it is my understanding from the initial and very prophetic reference in Genesis to the creation and purpose of the "lights in the firmament of the heavens" (Gen 1:14) to the initial reference to the coming Messiah (Gen 3:15) that the purpose of the "Star of Bethlehem" was foretold.


There are some very good studies which point to the entire zodiac, each sign of the zodiac, if you will, was created by the Lord as a stellar discriptor of earth history
from His timeless and eternal perspective.

One website that is very instructional for this topic is this entry at BCN.com which is based on Rick Larson's excellent Biblical research (get the DVD after you read this website).

Here is a really neat excerpt:

""Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "'Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?'"

The Magis' question gives us three points for our list of qualifications for the Star. Whatever happened in the sky indicated 1) birth, 2) kingship and 3) Jews.


(The verse continues,) "We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."

When the wise men said "we saw his star in the east," they didn't mean "we saw his star while we were in the East." The Greek text here says the Star was "en anatole," meaning they saw his star rising in the east. That's what all but polar stars do, because of the rotation of the Earth. Stars rise in the east, but not all celestial objects do that. So, that's another qualification for the Star: 4) it must rise in the east like most other stars.

In setting the stage for his Star evidence, Larson continues to list the prerequisites derived from the text in Matthew . . .

"Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared."

Another qualification for the Star: 5) It appeared at an exact time. And yet another qualification: 6) Herod didn't know when it appeared. He had to ask.

"He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him." 9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was."

And now we have the last three qualifications for the Star: 7) it endured over a considerable period of time. The Magi saw it, perhaps from Babylon, traveled to Judea and saw it still. 8) It went ahead of them as they traveled from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. You might not realize that this doesn't mean the Star was needed to guide the travelers to Bethlehem. Bethlehem was (and is) just five miles south of Jerusalem on the main road. They couldn't miss it. No, the Star appears ahead of them as they trek south not so much as a guide as a further confirmation of the signs they had seen. Lastly, 9) the Star stopped! Can a star do that? Yes, it can, as we shall see.

Using these nine factors as a guide, Larson then articulately walks through what the celestial phenomenon can and cannot be, arriving at the surprising conclusion that the Bethlehem Star was actually the extraordinary movements and convergence of two of the planets in our own solar system. The prophetic significance and symbolism surrounding these planets and their movement in this case is truly miraculous and has the "signature of God" all over it!
"

Another excellent resource to consult is the Biblical astronomical reference work found in Patrick Heron's book "The Nephilim and the Pyramid of the Apocalypse."

Greg said...

Interesting, Jim. Astronomers have also theorized that a supernova could also have created the star in the sky. A sci-fi author (can't remember if it was Clarke, Bradbury, or someone else) even wrote a story about astronauts in the distant future discovering the remains of a planet whose civilization died out, when their sun went supernova, at the same time that Jesus was born (insert Twilight Zone theme song here).

jeleasure said...

Sean,
First, I want to tell you how very much I appreciate you being on the Winning Team. You are an academic Bible Student that has proven himself time and again in your knowledge of scripture. It is not difficult to see that God, then country is how you prioritize the surroundings of your life.
Thank you for visiting my blog.
The reference to the Greek was something I actually looked at changing. That is why I put it in parenthesis. It was one of the points that I felt I should make because of what Molnar said concerning the switch-back pattern of the "Star". However, there are some readers in my network who are not too easily persuaded. In fact, I've been called a heretic for suggesting unpopular teaching. And lost a few readers. So, I just gave it the parenthetical nod and continued to stick to drawing the point of what the "Star" may have been. And how The Lord used the supersticious beliefs of man to announce the birth of our Savior.
Thanks again Sean. I have your link posted in the right margin of my blog. I highly recommend your blog when it comes to verifying information that the media is not abreast to.
Jim

jeleasure said...

Greg,
There are a lot of theories on the Star of Bethlehem. I have considered the one you are speaking of a few years ago. Then, I felt a conflict that lead me more in the direction of Jupiter through Aries when I heard this one.
Sean Osborn, he commented just before you, gave me some references to check out. I have to go out to do an emergency plumbing call now. But, I will look at those and get back with you and Sean later. Sean is a very bright member of the Armed Forces whose work touches the unseen dangers of our countries national security. Check into the links he provided and look at his blog. It is the NEIN (North East Intelligence Network) blog, listed in my link list.
I'll be talking to you. Thanks for your input.
Jim

Great Googly Moogly! said...

Nice and informative post, Jim. I really enjoyed it and all the comments. I especially appreciated your wife's comments--very encouraging.

GGM

Nitewrit said...

Jim,

Came back and rest you interesting post this evening. (I posted mine earlier.) I'd say we are pretty close on this. I took a little different view of what the star they followed was, but I do accept the idea the magi were looking at a particular configuration as a sign of the event.

I also believe we can't ignore Daniel's influence on the thinking of the Magi.

I love the way your wife responses to your post. It is so nice to see people who have loving marriages.

isn't it wonderful the incredible Book God provided us to study and contemplate. Every page is an encyclopedia in itself.

Larry E.

Vicki said...

This is for all who posted here. First, Jim is out this cold, rainy night doing some emergency plumbing. What a guy!
I am home waiting for him and decided to check the comments on his blog. Every one of you is such a gift and a joy to both Jim and to myself. Affirmative, kind, articulate, thought provoking, studious, Christ-like, encouraging,friend. These are the words that pop out of my head to describe my feelings towards you.
Blessings, Prayers, and closeness to the True Light, Jesus the Christ.

Gigi said...

Jim, I thank you and Vicki very kindly for your offer...but I don't think I'm up to it this year. That was something that my Sweet Hubby and I looked forward to and sitting there without him would be more than I can bear right now. But thank you so much for thinking of me. I will be spending time with my youngest this weekend...

jeleasure said...

Gigi,
Vicki and I understand. Have a nice weekend with your youngest.
Jim and Vicki

SeanOsborne said...

Jim,

Sorry for the late reply, been kinda busy, LOL.

Here are another couple of websites for you and anyone else interested to explore, as you find time, for information on the Lord's intent for the zodiac referenced earlier in Genesis.

The "signs in the sun, moon and stars" continue to this very minute, and will continue until some point in the prophetic future. I have found through approximately ten years of research in this area that many of the Bride of Christ remain largely unaware of this prophetic aspect that has existed since the beginning of space and time as we understand it. The "signs in the stars" had long been in existence before even one jot or one iota of text of the Word of God was put to papyrus, before even the Lord Himself etched His Commandments in the slabs of rock at Mt. Sinai for Moses to carry to the Hebrews. The Stars confirm what we read in the text of the Holy Bibe - they tell the same story, and they told it first.

All of this is, of course, also just a few more clues regarding the full extent of the Lord's onmipotence, omniscience and omnipresence. These are truly glimpses of that which we will never know in its ultimate fullness until we finally are with Him for all eternity. And then a new heaven and a new earth come into being.

In exploring this information, please keep in mind - A) that this study has NOTHING to do with astrology, and most importantly, B) what the Word of God instructs us in all things particularly with respect to the study of His Creation:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; this one was in the beginning with God; all things through him did happen, and without him happened not even one thing that hath happened. In him was life, and the life was the light of men, and the light in the darkness did shine, and the darkness did not perceive it."
John 1:1-5 Young's Literal Translation

In Jesus Name, Amen.


The Biblical Zodiac

The Zodiac - The Bible in the Stars

jeleasure said...

Thanks Sean,
I began listening to "Strait Talk" this morning. Unfortunately, even though I am off today, I have some work related things to take care of. So, I'll have to come back to the links, later.
The first audio link had some intriguing information.
Sean,
Off topic, I sent out an email yesterday morning to all Pastors, Leaders and Teachers of the Church. The intent is to raise awareness to the leaders of our the Church are side stepping a lot of important (foundational and doctrinal) issues. Christine of Talk Wisdom is going to post this email on her blog. It will aslo be forwarded to about twenty pastors, teachers and leaders of the Church whom I have in my address book.

I know you are busy. I just want to extend an invitation for you to express an opinion. Thanks Sean.
Jim

SeanOsborne said...

Jim,

With respect to the "off topic" Email, here is my position on that.

What is going on in "the church" in these 'last days' is exactly according to the prophetic Biblical text. That means the Lord has spoken all that need be said regarding these days, all instruction has been given, and all counsel on these matters is reinforced by the Holy Spirit.

I do not hold any regard for a particular denomination or church establishment. They are all man-made constructs or caused by the highhandedness or haughtiness of men, and they will all perish. I refuse to participate in the schismatic stupidity of such individuals. ! and 2 Timothy speak to such things.

I worship the Lord in the same manner as our forebears did in ancient times and do to this day - this is the true Church that the Lord speaks to in the Bible.

Farrah said...

Thanks for stopping by! Sorry it took so long for me to read this post. Busy 'round here this month!

I am glad you enjoyed that dinner! Did you discover its origins? :-)

I found this post interesting, as I too have wondered similar things. I have wondered how often God has used superstitions and even pagan beliefs to His advantage. He is certainly able to do that.

People believed in OT times that large families and wealth were a sign of God's blessing. A woman who did not bare children was negatively viewed. God could use those beliefs in interesting ways, and large families were good for a number of reasons such as populating the planet and having lots of hands to help with keeping the family safe and becoming prosperous.

Large families today are no longer necessary, and we no longer judge people as much by their wealth. Nor do we usually look down on a woman who can't have children.

jeleasure said...

Thanks Jason,
My wife is an encourager, a Barnabas. That is one of the things I admire about her. I myself am more of a Peter. And, as you may be aware from my recent endeavor, I set out to cut off another ear.
Jim

jeleasure said...

Larry,
Thanks for coming back to read my post. I am glad you did not finish reading it when you discovered what it was about. After having read your post on the same topic, I can see some similarities in our thought process. Good work on your part.
Also, thank you for complementing me on my choice of a bride. I know I am lucky to have found her. The alternative can be described as Solomon wrote:

Proverbs 27:15-16 (New International Version)

15 A quarrelsome wife is like
a constant dripping on a rainy day;

jeleasure said...

Hi Farrah,
I've been busy this weekend, as well.
The meal Vicki prepared for me was a coincidence to what you posted on your blog. Pretty cool, though.
Yes, the times change and so do our values, for better, worse and indifferent.

SeanOsborne said...

Jim,

Just following up with my comment above of December 13 @ 11:23 AM.

FrontPageMag.com posted an article today by Mark D. Tooley which addresses one aspect of what I was referencing. I have spoken often in past years against what I call "Churchianity" in that it opposes those of us who are the heirs of thrue Christianity. Seems the "Churchianists" has kicked it up a notch or two.

Christian Zionists: The Real Terrorists is as strong an indicator of the great apostasy of these 'last days.'

The OT prophets foretold of this, and as did our Lord and His apostles. Paul also gave Spirit-filled definition to what would occur first, even before the revealing of the antichrist. (Italics added for emphasis.)

"NOW we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and [by] our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. (2 Thes 2:1-4)."

jeleasure said...

Thanks Sean,
Second Thessalonians is where we are, then. Certainly, this is why I've been preaching to those 'nominal' Christians and luke warm ministers. For the same reason God sent Jonah to Ninevah. To repent.
I believe if we repent, God relents. I believe that when the majority of us are un-repentant, then, we will see judgement. And, the way it appears, we will see it soon.
Jim